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Famous Oberlin College Alumni

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List Rules People on this list must have gone to Oberlin College and be of some renown.

List of famous alumni from Oberlin College, with photos when available. Prominent graduates from Oberlin College include celebrities, politicians, business people, athletes and more. This list of distinguished Oberlin College alumni is loosely ordered by relevance, so the most recognizable celebrities who attended Oberlin College are at the top of the list. This directory is not just composed of graduates of this school, as some of the famous people on this list didn't necessarily earn a degree from Oberlin College.

List is made up of many different graduates, including Liz Phair and Lena Dunham.

This list answers the questions “Which famous people went to Oberlin College?” and “Which celebrities are Oberlin College alumni?”
1
Sinclair Lewis is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Novelist, Author, Writer
Harry Sinclair Lewis (February 7, 1885 – January 10, 1951) was an American novelist, short-story writer, and playwright. In 1930, he became the first writer from the United States to receive the ...more

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#353 of 1,183 The Best Writers of All Time #1,207 of 2,830 The Most Influential People of All Time

2
Thornton Wilder is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Novelist, Screenwriter, Playwright
Thornton Niven Wilder (April 17, 1897 – December 7, 1975) was an American playwright and novelist. He won three Pulitzer Prizes—for the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey, and for the plays Our ...more

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#359 of 1,183 The Best Writers of All Time #43 of 183 The Greatest Playwrights in History

3
Lucy Stone is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Lucy Stone (August 13, 1818 – October 18, 1893) was a prominent U.S. orator, abolitionist, and suffragist, and a vocal advocate and organizer promoting rights for women. In 1847, Stone became ...more
4
Liz Phair is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Guitarist, Songwriter, Singer-songwriter
Elizabeth Clark Phair (born April 17, 1967) is an American singer, songwriter, guitarist, composer, and actress. Born in New Haven, Connecticut, Phair was adopted at birth and raised primarily ...more

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#204 of 300 The Greatest Living Rock Songwriters #382 of 470 Famous Women You'd Want to Have a Beer With

5
Charles A. Reich is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Lawyer
Charles Alan Reich (; May 20, 1928 – June 15, 2019) was an American academic and writer best known for writing the 1970 book The Greening of America, a paean to the counterculture of the 1960s. ...more
6
Elisha Gray is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Inventor
Elisha Gray (August 2, 1835 – January 21, 1901) was an American electrical engineer who co-founded the Western Electric Manufacturing Company. Gray is best known for his development of a ...more
7
Harrison A. Williams is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Lawyer
Harrison Arlington "Pete" Williams Jr. (December 10, 1919 – November 17, 2001) was an American Democratic politician who represented New Jersey in the United States House of ...more

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#20 of 45 Corrupt Democrats #11 of 31 Corrupt Reagan era Politicians

8
Matthew Stadler is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Editor, Writer
Matthew Stadler (born 1959) is an American author who has written six novels and received several awards. Stadler has compiled four anthologies about literature, city life and public life. His ...more
9
Lynn Kohlman is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Photographer
Lynn Eleanor Kohlman (August 12, 1946 – September 14, 2008) was a fashion model, photographer, author, and creative director at DKNY.
10
John Wesley Powell is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Soldier, Geologist, Explorer
John Wesley Powell (March 24, 1834 – September 23, 1902) was a U.S. soldier, geologist, explorer of the American West, professor at Illinois Wesleyan University, and director of major scientific ...more
11
Robert Andrews Millikan ... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Mathematician, Physicist, Court reporter
Robert Andrews Millikan (March 22, 1868 – December 19, 1953) was an American experimental physicist honored with the Nobel Prize for Physics in 1923 for the measurement of the elementary ...more
12
Paul Horn is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Flautist
Paul Horn (March 17, 1930 – June 29, 2014) was an American flautist, saxophonist, composer and producer. He became a pioneer of world and new age music with his 1969 album, Inside.
13
John Mercer Langston is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Politician, Lawyer
John Mercer Langston (December 14, 1829 – November 15, 1897) was an abolitionist, attorney, educator, activist, diplomat, and politician in the United States. An African American, he became the ...more
14
Alison Bechdel is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Novelist, Cartoonist, Author
Alison Bechdel ( BEK-dəl; born September 10, 1960) is an American cartoonist. Originally best known for the long-running comic strip Dykes to Watch Out For, she came to critical and commercial ...more

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#183 of 259 The Best Gay Authors #17 of 38 The Most Influential Contemporary Minds #18 of 28 28 Celebrities with Gay Parents

15
Mary Church Terrell is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Writer
Mary Church Terrell (September 23, 1863 – July 24, 1954) was one of the first African-American women to earn a college degree, and became known as a national activist for civil rights and ...more
16
Seth Rudetsky is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Journalist, Musician, Screenwriter
Seth Dennis Rudetsky (born February 28, 1967) is an American musician, actor, writer, and radio host. He currently is the host of Seth's Big Fat Broadway and Seth Speaks on Sirius/XM Satellite ...more
17
Eduardo Mondlane is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Politician
Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane (20 June 1920 – 3 February 1969) served as the founding President of the Mozambican Liberation Front (FRELIMO) from 1962, the year that FRELIMO was founded in Tanzania, ...more
18
Eric Bogosian is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Novelist, Screenwriter, Author
Eric Bogosian (arm. Էրիկ Բոգոսյան) (born April 24, 1953) is an American actor, playwright, monologuist, novelist, and historian.
19
Edward Everett Horton is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Actor, Voice acting, Singer
Edward Everett Horton Jr. (March 18, 1886 – September 29, 1970) was an American character actor. He had a long career in film, theater, radio, television, and voice work for animated cartoons.
20
Bill Irwin is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Theatre Director, Screenwriter, Choreographer
William Mills Irwin (born April 11, 1950) is an American actor, clown, and comedian. He began as a vaudeville-style stage performer and has been noted for his contribution to the renaissance of ...more
21
Jon Theodore is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Musician, Drummer
Jon Philip Theodore (born December 30, 1973) is an American drummer. He is best known as a former member of The Mars Volta and as the current drummer for Queens of the Stone Age. Theodore is ...more
22
Barbara Seaman is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Journalist, Author, Social activist
Barbara Seaman (September 11, 1935 – February 27, 2008) was an American author, activist, and journalist, and a principal founder of the women's health feminism movement.
23
Ed Helms is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Comedian, Television producer, Screenwriter
Edward Parker Helms (born January 24, 1974) is an American actor, comedian, and singer. He is known for his work as a correspondent on The Daily Show as well as playing Andy Bernard in the NBC ...more

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#288 of 505 The Best TV Actors of All Time #438 of 525 Famous Men You'd Want to Have a Beer With

24
Ira Sprague Bowen is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Astronomer
Ira Sprague Bowen (December 21, 1898 – February 6, 1973) was an American physicist and astronomer. In 1927 he discovered that nebulium was not really a chemical element but instead doubly ...more
25
John Cazale is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Famous Oberlin College Alumni
Actor
John Holland Cazale (, Italian: [kadˈdzaːle]; August 12, 1935 – March 13, 1978) was an American actor. He appeared in five films over six years, all of which were nominated for the Academy Award ...more

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#519 of 1,149 The Best Actors in Film History #641 of 2,003 The Greatest Actors & Actresses in Entertainment History